It’s been a month since my last glass of wine, so it goes to follow that its also a month since my last wine induced migraine.
I cannot believe the difference one month has made. Not so much in how I feel physically, or look, and certainly not how much I weigh, but in terms of mental health the change has been huge.
The old me is making an appearance. The me that inhabited the world until c.2009. The me that twirls through life, is distracted by flowers and sparkles, sees hope in the worst of times and whose job it is to smile and make people laugh (mainly at me).
Before moving to Bristol (BB) I was alcohol free. I exercised. I wasn’t 100% healthy and struggled at time balancing my health and work but for the main part I was happy. I enjoyed my job and the school I worked at. I was in a small department with three fabulous men and the office was usually filled with inane boy banter: football, music, tv, what we had for tea last night. There was no gossiping, there was no keeping score, just a generally calm, supportive working environment.
After moving to Bristol (AB) my life fell apart pretty quickly and it’s not until I look back that I can appreciate that fact. I worked with challenging students on a daily basis with little by way of support and it took its toll – on my mental health, my husband’s mental health and our relationship. It was then that I first started to drink, not, I now realise to deaden the pain or to deal with the stress of the situation, but to try to find the spark, the part of me that I knew was still in there. The part of me that had gone into hibernation. It’s hard to function in the world when you know a significant part of yourself is missing. It’s like permanently wading through treacle, trying to present a version of yourself to the world, hoping they can’t see the cracks. More often than I would like to admit, the cracks became chasms and I did struggle with life.
Slowly over the past 12 months I have started to crawl back out of hibernation, to unfurl my wings and take tentative steps back into the world as me. Not the me that people think I should be, but the me that I used to be – Before Bristol. I like this version of me and feel sad that she has been hidden away from the world for such a long while. Giving up wine is the final step in this process.
I’ve rediscovered the delight of exercising with good friends and the feelgood feeling that it gives me. Once again my priority is my health. Eating healthily feels normal and natural, I’m not on the rollercoaster of ups and downs that comes from drinking, feeling bad, eating sweets to cope, feeling bad, and have stopped making consistently poor choices. I’m not perfect, but due to lent I am making further progress as I have given up chocolate, biscuits and cakes which is forcing me to pick healthy snacks – which, I’ll confess, are nothing like as tasty but I’m hoping it will be worth it in the long term.
I am starting to love socialising again. I do love going out. I love the banter and the energy of an evening out. Bizarrely, I prefer it sober. I found having to drink quite stressful as I knew that there was always going to be quite a severe consequence, despite drinking a minimal amount and to know that I can go out, have fun, and wake up headache free, filled with energy and ready to take on the day is amazing. I have re-found my love of life. I love life, everything about it and I’m starting to enjoy it again, to spot the flowers by the roadside, to hear the birds singing and I no longer feel like I am dragging myself from one day to the next. It feels like there is a purpose to my days again. I am laughing again.
The wheels are well and truly back on my wagon, they are well oiled and ready to trundle on their merry way, safe and secure. I might even get around to pimping my wagon!